Hollywood has glamorized the job of FBI agents, depicting it as one of the most action-packed law enforcement jobs in the United States of America. And indeed, it is! Despite the dangers the FBI agents face, many wannabes still aim to get the job from the Federal Bureau of Investigations. The factors affecting their decisions have a lot to do with the higher monthly stipend, a more promising package of health insurance and admirable retirement settlements.
However, how does one qualify to be a special agent of one of the most prestigious and highly reputable investigative agencies in the planet?
- First and foremost, one must be a citizen of the United States of America or of the Northern Mariana Islands.
- Must be 23 years old (minimum age requirement) to 37 years old (maximum age requirement and should still be upon the day of the appointment). Individuals falling under the category of eligible veteran will be granted of age waivers.
- Valid driver’s license holder.
- Four year degree holder from a reputable educational institution or body.
- Willingness and readiness to take mission/ assignments almost anywhere around the globe.
- Minimum of three years of employment experience
FBI Special Agent Entry Programs
The aspirant must ascertain if he or she is qualified in the 5 entry programs namely: Accounting, Computer Science/Information Technology, Language, Law and Diversified. When qualified, the applicant will be given priority based on the following Critical Skills:
- Computer Science/Information Technology Expertise
- Engineering Expertise
- Foreign Language(s) Proficiency
- Intelligence Experience
- Law Experience
- Law Enforcement/Investigative Experience
- Military Experience
- Physical Sciences (e.g., physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) Expertise
- Diversified Experience
Tests and Requirements
Phase one of these tests will be a series of written tests of the applicant’s basic abilities and aptitude. When the applicant passed Phase I, he proceeds to Phase 2 which requires him to another written examination and an oral interview.
Upon completing and passing the first two phases, Physical ability test follows. It is not unknown to all that FBI agents are open to rigorous elements the career calls for, hence the need for physical fitness. Here’s how the PF test is given:
FBI Fitness Standards
- 1-minute sit-ups:
- Men: 45-47
- Women: 44-46
- Maximum pushups:
- Men: 44-49
- Women: 27-29
- 300-meter dash:
- Men: 46.1-49.9 seconds
- Women: 56.0-57.4 seconds
- 5-mile run:
- Men: 10:35-11:09 (minutes:seconds)
- Women: 11:57-12:29 (minutes:seconds)
When the applicant is certified physically competent and fit, background investigation comes next. For many aspirants, it’s one rough process. It includes polygraph exam, credit, character investigation and thorough background research.
Medical Test is secured in order to know underlying illnesses that would render the applicant and his job in the disadvantage. The health specialists in the Federal Bureau themselves will be the ones to run the check up.
The last phase requires the applicant to join 21-week Special Agent class at the FBI Academy, requiring the applicant to live inside the campus. The classes include the ‘cool stuff’ like firearms proficiency, defensive tactics and even martial arts. In the process, applicants are heavily monitored. When health issues surface, the applicant will be sent home or denied further admission.
Not at all glamorous
Bottom line is: being an FBI agent exposes you to numerous difficulties and perils. The job can be draining since it is associated with the national (or even global) security. An applicant must be able to meet the mental and physical balance the job demands. Motivation, discipline and hard work are essential factors to stay in the hiring process and eventually the job itself. In spite of the difficulties and challenges, the career opens to more rewarding opportunities and benefits. Thus, the advice for the aspiring FBI agent: strategize and go get your plan realized!